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Critters of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA.

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Where Spotted: T-Pot Bridge
Common Name: Indigo Bunting
Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea
Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Lab

  • Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. Researchers demonstrated this process in the late 1960s by studying captive Indigo Buntings in a planetarium and then under the natural night sky. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.
  • Indigo Buntings learn their songs as youngsters, from nearby males but not from their fathers. Buntings a few hundred yards apart generally sing different songs, while those in the same “song neighborhood” share nearly identical songs. A local song may persist up to 20 years, gradually changing as new singers add novel variations.
  • Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue.
  • Bunting plumage does contain the pigment melanin, whose dull brown-black hue you can see if you hold a blue feather up so the light comes from behind it, instead of toward it.
  • Indigo and Lazuli buntings defend territories against each other in the western Great Plains where they occur together, share songs, and sometimes interbreed.
  • The oldest recorded wild Indigo Bunting was a male, and at least 13 years, 3 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ohio in 2013.

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Groot at Richmond SPCA

Meet Groot! This big handsome fella is looking for the perfect family to call his own. He loves being outside, playing with friends, and lounging in big comfy beds. Ask to visit this big boy today and fall in love!

Age: 10 years,
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Brown / White
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 38239355

Adopt Groot at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.